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Beyond the Door of No Return

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"I read Beyond the Door of No Return with pleasure and admiration. David Diop has opened up a new way of thinking about the eighteenth century and its hideous cruelties." --Abdulrazak Gurnah, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of Afterlives

"Stunningly realized . . . Exquisite . . . A spellbinding novel about the high price of betrayal--of others, and oneself." --Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King, shortlisted for the Booker Prize

The hotly anticipated new novel by David Diop, winner of the International Booker Prize.

Paris, 1806. The renowned botanist Michel Adanson lies on his deathbed, the masterwork to which he dedicated his life still incomplete. As he expires, the last word to escape his lips is a woman's name: Maram.

The key to this mysterious woman's identity is Adanson's unpublished memoir of the years he spent in Senegal, concealed in a secret compartment in a chest of drawers. Therein lies a story as fantastical as it is tragic: Maram, it turns out, is none other than the fabled revenant. A young woman of noble birth from the kingdom of Waalo, Maram was sold into slavery but managed to escape from the Island of Gorée--a major embarkation point of the transatlantic slave trade--to a small village hidden in the forest. While on a research expedition in West Africa as a young man, Adanson hears the story of the revenant and becomes obsessed with finding her. Accompanied by his guide, he ventures deep into the Senegalese bush on a journey that reveals not only the savagery of the French colonial occupation but also the unlikely transports of the human heart.

Written with sensitivity and narrative flair, David Diop's Beyond the Door of No Return is a love story like few others. Drawing on the richness and lyricism of Senegal's oral traditions, Diop has constructed a historical epic of the highest order.

ISBN-13: 9780374606770

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publication Date: 09-19-2023

Pages: 256

Product Dimensions: 8.25h x 5.38w x 1.00d

David Diop was born in Paris and raised in Senegal. He is a professor of literature at the University of Pau, where his research encompasses such topics as eighteenth-century French literature and European representations of Africa in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. His first novel to be published in English, At Night All Blood Is Black, was awarded the International Booker Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction.

Sam Taylor is an award-winning literary translator and novelist. He has translated more than sixty books from the French, including Laurent Binet's HHhH and Leïla Slimani's The Perfect Nanny.